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Recent Publications

“Overworking May Put You in an Early Grave”

Oct 15, 2017

My generation contributed to the creation of the “workaholic.” But, is this healthy? Workaholics feel compelled to work for the sake of working, and you feel panic, anxiety or a sense of loss when you aren’t working. The workaholic is “addicted to an incessant activity,” said Diane M. Fassel, author of “Working Ourselves to Death.” The behavior continues even if the worker becomes aware that it is personally harmful. Opinions differ on whether such unhealthy behavior, as opposed to abuse of substances like drugs and alcohol, can be considered an actual addiction.  But more mental health professionals now consider “workaholism” a condition that can cause both mental and physical damage, said Bryan E. Robinson, book author of “Chained to the Desk.” One problem is that people are praised and rewarded for working excessively, which almost never happens with addictions. Most workaholics are either perfectionists, have a need for control or a combination of both.  Working too hard can also be a way to escape from a bad relationship or to make up for an absence in one’s personal life.

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“Breakfast is a Very Important Meal”

Oct 08, 2017

It appears that Mom may have been right in telling you that breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. It gives you the energy to start a new day and it is linked to many health benefits, including weight control, improved performance, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Dietary patterns have changed significantly over the last few decades such that an estimated 20% to 30% of adults skip breakfast. These trends mirror the increase in obesity and associated cardiometabolic derangements. Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you more strength and endurance to engage in physical activity; improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the boardroom; intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber and lower cholesterol levels. Breakfast is especially important for adolescents and children. Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. It is believed that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals.

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“Whole Grain Diets have Scant Proof of Being Heart Healthy”

Oct 01, 2017

Cereal advertisements constantly suggest that a diet heavy in whole high fiber grains has been proven to be of great benefit to your heart and cardiovascular health. If so, where is the evidence?  Whole grain foods encompass a range of products and include whole grain wheat, rice, maize, and oats as well as milled whole grains such as oatmeal.  The American Heart Association recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or a Mediterranean-style diet to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Both diets emphasize cooking with vegetable oils with unsaturated fats, eating nuts, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish and poultry, and limiting red meat and added sugars and salt. But, studies published by the Cochrane Library, have found that experiments testing the heart benefits of whole grains have been too small, too brief, or both, making it impossible to determine how these foods might lead to long-term heart benefits in the general population.

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“Drug Dangers and Interactions in Elderly Patients”

Sep 24, 2017

Just because a drug is called “a medicine” does not guarantee that it cannot seriously injure or kill you. Recent studies have found that drugs annually hospitalize up to 2.7 million Americans with serious adverse drug reactions and, of these, there are 128,000 deaths. A 2013, article entitled, “Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs” was published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (JLME) and reported that patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have few offsetting benefits. This is especially true in elderly patients. Today, pills are pushed with reckless abandon and campaigns of persuasion. Prescribing medications, recognizing and managing medication side effects and drug interactions, and avoiding multiple drugs (polypharmacy) are all essential skills in the care of older adults in primary care. All too frequently, a medication is prescribed to treat a side effect of another medication. The Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication (PIM) Use in Older Adults is an essential reference for physicians prescribing to older adults. Statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) are the most commonly prescribed drug in elderly adults, with as many as half of community-dwelling elderly taking these agents.

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“Joint Pain and Memory Supplements No Better than Placebo”

Sep 17, 2017

Dietary supplements do not undergo adequate safety testing or quality control but still sales have exploded into a $32 billion annual business. People are willing to try anything, even if there is no scientific support for many supplements available. About half of Americans use one or more of the 55,000 available dietary supplements. Supplements typically carry no information about side effects. The uninformed public buys them because they have been misled to believe that these products are “miracle cures” that orthodox medicine wants to hide from them. When it comes to joint pain, a new randomized controlled trial (RCT) has found that oral glucosamine has no more effect than placebo on joint pain. Even sub–groups, such as patients with obesity or high inflammation, found no benefit with the supplements. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International and the US National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently issued guidance about the lack of evidence for glucosamine as a cure for joint pain. Overall, the effects of glucosamine and the placebo on pain and physical functioning didn’t differ, either in the short–term or at one or two years.

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“Fats, Fruits and Vegetables, and Fiction”

Sep 10, 2017

Fiction is defined as “stories about people or events that are not real.” For years we have heard the mantra of eating at least five fruit and vegetable servings a day for optimal health and also to avoid fats. New studies indicate that these claims may be either over exaggerations or mostly fictitious. First, let’s consider fruits and vegetables. Some so called experts have even started recommending 7- to 10-A-Day servings of fruits and veggies but currently, WHO guidelines suggest five servings of fruits, vegetables or legumes each day. New data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study has found that the benefits of eating fruits and vegetable aren’t limitless. In many parts of the world, five servings a day is too expensive. The PURE study showed the lowest risk of death was among people who ate three to four servings with little additional benefit beyond that range. Experts said that they do not want to tell people who are eating more than the recommendation to eat less and that people who are meeting or exceeding the daily goal of fruits, vegetables and legumes shouldn’t take the findings as a license to eat less of those foods.

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“Fish Intake and Overall Health”

Sep 03, 2017

It seems that we are constantly being advised to eat less red meat and more fish.  Is there a scientific basis for this?  A new study in Arthritis Care & Research found that eating fish, such as tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, sole, halibut, poke, and grouper, may help reduce joint pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.  RA patients who ate baked, steamed, broiled, or raw fish two or more times per week had significantly less tender and swollen joints, subjective disease activity, and C-reactive protein — than those who never ate fish or ate it less than once a month.  Additional weekly fish servings appeared to add to the benefits.  Still, the researchers cautioned that this study was a cross-sectional analysis, so they could not draw firm conclusions about fish consumption and RA disease activity.  Another study reported suggest that fish intake might be associated with lower risk of brain cancer.  Among brain tumors, gliomas and meningiomas are the two most common types, accounting for more than 80% cases. Although the incidence of brain cancer is relatively low in adults, the prognosis of brain cancer, especially glioma, is unfavorable.

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“Many Cancers Due to ‘Bad Luck’ Mutations”

Aug 27, 2017

For decades we have been told, “Nearly half of cancers diagnosed each year are caused by avoidable life choices including smoking, drinking and eating the wrong things.”  For example, in the UK, tobacco is the biggest culprit, causing 23% of cases in men and 15.6% in women. Additionally, prolonged periods of inactivity (sedentary jobs or hobbies) is the new equivalent of smoking when it comes to cancer causation.  Also, high on the causation list is a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in men’s diets, while for women it is being overweight.  New predictions are now saying, “More than half of all people born in 1960 will develop cancer at some point in their lives.  This new estimate replaces the previous figure, calculated using a different method, which predicted that more than one in three people would develop cancer at some point in their lives.”  The increase in lifetime risk is believed to be primarily because more people are surviving into old age, where cancer is more common.

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“Obesity, Overweight, and Conflicted Studies”

Aug 21, 2017

The obesity scare has been around for decades but where is the truth about being overweight?  It all started in 2004, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists published a study suggesting obesity was responsible for 400,000 deaths a year, making it almost as deadly as smoking.  It turned out to be a false alarm:  The authors made methodological errors that skewed their number too high.  So, in 2005, another study found obesity was only responsible for about 112,000 excess deaths.  They also found something peculiar.  Being “overweight,” but not obese, was not associated with an increased risk of death at all.  In 2013, a meta-analysis study found that even when adjusting for smoking, age, and sex, overweight people—those with a body mass index of between 25 and 30—had a 6 percent lower risk of dying than normal-weight individuals.  Normal BMI for women is 18.5-24.9.  Obesity is technically defined as having a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 or more.  The paper found that in terms of mortality, it’s better for this number to be slightly elevated than to be normal.  A 5-foot-6-inch woman, in other words, would be better off weighing 180 pounds than 120.  But, a Harvard so called expert called this study “a pile of rubbish.”  More confusing studies have followed.  In 2016, other researchers from around the world published a paper in The Lancet analyzing 239 studies and millions of study subjects.

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“Diets: Is There Science Support”

Aug 06, 2017

Seventy percent of American adults are overweight and more than 35% are obese. So, people are looking for a safe, healthy and effective weight loss diet. Unfortunately, many turn to the internet for information or “misinformation.” For certain, diets come and go. Some trending diet plans are nothing more than fads with little scientific support. Let’s check out a few. Overall, a careful scientific analysis of both traditional and nontraditional diets shows that neither can guarantee long term weight loss. In short, most people who lose weight, after a while, tend to return to their same old diet and habits that caused their weight gain in the first place. For patients whose weight is addressed by their physicians, they tend to hear the tried-and-true mantra of “diet and exercise.” An analysis of the 2005–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was performed and it showed that physicians need to reaffirm that diet and exercise are better methods for weight loss.

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